FORT MYERS, Fla. – Summer vacation is officially over for the FGCU volleyball squad, as they returned to campus to open the preseason by assembling at Alico Arena for their first practice at 8 a.m. on Thursday.
The team will take the court again this afternoon and twice-a-day leading up to the week before their first match of the season against Florida A&M at the Florida Tournament on August 24.
The 2012 edition of the Eagles returns 11 players, including 2011 Freshman of the Year and second team All-Conference performer sophomore Jill Hopper (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown HS). FGCU also welcomes four newcomers to the program, including transfers Courtney Greenberg (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Juniata College), Christine Pinder (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS/Houston/Central Florida CC) and Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS/Northeastern).
“We could not wait for our first practice,” said head coach Dave Nichols. “Last year we were extremely young - at times starting 4 freshmen. We had moments of brilliant play, but also there were moments when our youth was quite evident. Still, we finished one game out of first place in conference play and feel that we only scratched the surface of what we can do. This team is fired up and determined to bring a conference title to FGCU for the 2012 season. I think our fans are going to really enjoy this motivated, athletic, and disciplined group of student-athletes.”
The Eagles open their home slate on Sept. 25 when they host A-Sun foe UNF, before welcoming ETSU and USC Upstate to Alico Arena on Sept. 28 and 29, respectively.
Volleyball season tickets for the home schedule are currently available. An adult ticket for all 11 games is $35, while a youth (3-18 years) ticket is $17. Single game tickets can also be bought at $6 for adults and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can get in for $3 a person. FGCU students and faculty/staff get in free with their student ID.